“I Saw The TV Glow” contains a show you’d want to watch, in a movie which may leave you with mixed feelings.


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Plot Summary

It all began in 1996. Owen is in the 7th grade, Maddy is in the 9th, and the two bond over the show “The Pink Opaque.” You could even submit that Maddy is obsessed. But maybe more so, she needed an escape from her abusive dad and indifferent mom, and the show spoke to her.

But for Owen, it originally was just a show. That is until Maddy disappears for eight years and, upon return, pushes the idea that Owen isn’t living in the reality he belongs to.

Content Information

  • Dialog: Cursing
  • Violence: Family Violence (Implied)
  • Sexual Content: Sexual Situations (Implied)
  • Miscellaneous: Body Horror, Smoking

Characters and Cast Members

Character’s Name Actor’s Name
1996 Owen Ian Foreman
1998+ Owen Justice Smith
Maddy Bridgette Lundy-Paine

Character Description(s)

Owen

Owen is a young man who is far more fond of his mother than his father and doesn’t really have any friends. Mind you, he is a nice kid, but when we meet him in 1996, he is a 7th grader with a bedtime and often can be seen with his mom. Then, as he gets older, he remains under her thumb, very introverted and soft-spoken, and by the time the film ends, he is the type who borderline apologizes for existing.

Maddy

Like Owen, Maddy is an oddball, and to make things more difficult, she is an out lesbian who has a fixation on a show (Pink Opaque) that isn’t necessarily obscure, considering it did run for five seasons, but she takes her love for the show to a level that can raise an eyebrow.

Review

Our Rating: Positive (Worth Seeing)

Good If You Like

  • Seeing people descend into madness

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Highlights

The Pink Opaque

In “I Saw the TV Glow,” you get far more of “Pink Opaque” than you may expect, and honestly, with its 90s, almost “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” mixed with a Goosebumps vibe, you’re drawn in to the point of wishing the show was real.

To give you an idea of what the show is about, two young women have this connection and powers that allow them to not only communicate across the county they live in but also take on monsters sent from this otherworld figure named Mr. Melancholy. From what we’re told, his goal is to suck the life out of the young and trap them, which is something to keep in mind regarding the film’s polarizing ending.

But one of the real assets to “Pink Opaque” are the monsters who honestly look terrifying yet, with the passion Owen and Maddy speak with about the show, you get why they were obsessed in high school, and Owen found it to be his comfort show when he was in his 20s.

Maddy and Owen’s relationship

Seeing two odd kids hang out and bond is something we will always love. Add in that you don’t get the vibe that Owen and Maddy are Hollywood’s take on what odd people look like and what they do, and it makes it all the better. The fixation on a television show, to the point of reading a rather thick book that’s an episode guide? Owen accepting Maddy being lesbian in the 90s? Never mind, between Justice Smith and Ian Foreman, two of the best actors to play someone sweet, introverted, and slightly nerdy were cast.

Which, believe me, was necessary considering where Schoenbrun takes “I Saw The TV Glow” in its second half.

On The Fence

Once Things Turn Left, The Film May Lose You

How? By pushing the question of what is reality? Not to go deep into spoiler territory, but it can be said that Maddy was abused growing up, and something is off about Owen that doesn’t get diagnosed. So, with that in mind, it does open the door that Maddy’s need to escape reality, paired with Owen often seeming like someone sucked the life out of him, could all be due to trauma. If not, Mr. Melancholy.

Now, at the beginning of the theory being pushed, it’s simple enough to follow and get into. However, as Owen pushes and pulls regarding maybe Maddy being upset about how “Pink Opaque” ended vs. her telling the truth about who she and Owen are, things get messy, and “I Saw The TV Glow” isn’t the type of film that wants to present its audience with a definitive answer.

Rather, it is the type of film that would rather end the movie abruptly, as it appears to be on its way to answering what the truth is and leave people to provide it free marketing by posting their theories online.

Background Information

Film Length 1 Hour 40 Minutes
Date Released May 2, 2024
Where To Watch In Theaters
Director(s) Jane Schoenbrun
Writer(s) Jane Schoenbrun
Based On Work By N/A
Genre(s) Drama

Mystery

Young Adult

LGBT+

Content Rating Rated PG-13

Listed Under Categories: , ,


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Summary

While there is no denying the actors provided you all they could, unfortunately, for those who may like more straight forward films, “I Saw The TV Glow” will feel like an arthouse film whose trailer presented the idea that maybe this wasn’t for a niche audience. Even if that is A24’s bread and butter.

Overall
80%
80%
  • Maddie And Owen’s Relationship - 82.5%
    83%
  • The Pink Opaque - 83%
    83%
  • Once Things Turn Left, The Film May Lose You - 73%
    73%
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User Review
0/100 (0 votes)

Highlight(s)

  • The Pink Opaque
  • Maddie And Owen’s Relationship

Disputable

  • Once Things Turn Left, The Film May Lose You

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